83 F
Thursday, September 23, 2021

Caring expat finds volunteers, gifts

Latest headlines

30% of La Plancha to be sold to the private sector

La Plancha is the largest undeveloped plot of land in the Centro. Although it will not be part of the Tren Maya, 30% is intended to be sold to the private sector.

Blocked from Chichén Itzá, new-age pilgrims congregate in Uxmal

Both Chichén Itzá and Dzibilchaltún were closed to the public during the fall equinox due to concerns over COVID-19 infections, as well as land disputes. 

Tensions flare over plans for Mérida’s new stadium

Promotion of Housing Industry, says Mérida’s new multi-purpose stadium will increase property values in the city’s north. 

Mérida’s most powerful art collection turns 50

The work of Yucatán's most celebrated muralist, Fernando Castro Pacheco (1918-2013), housed in Mérida's Palacio de Gobierno, turned 50 on Independence Day.
Melissa Adler
Melissa Adler is a New York native who lives in Mérida.

[metaslider id=”42251″]

Kimberly Davin-DeGraff, a.k.a. Kimmy Suki, has a gift for rallying the community to help people in need. We talked to this long-time expat to find out what makes her tick.

YELinterview-1114webWhere are your from originally and what brought you to Mérida?

I am from the San Joaquin Valley in central California. I came with my ex-business partner, who is also my ex-husband, to work one year in Merida in a chiropractic clinic, and to learn Spanish. We came with our two children, one cat and one dog. We all fell in love with Mérida and never left. That was 12 years ago this September.

You seem to have an amazing ability to find needs in the community that the rest of us aren’t aware of. How do you find these folks?

I met two great women who opened many doors and my eyes to the needs here in the Yucatán. One is Tami Stout, a lovely mother from the States who is married to a Mexican and has lived here a long time. The other is Gina Dogre with the government agency Sedesol. These two woman are angels. Somehow or another these two guide or help me on all projects.

You seem to be passionate about helping others. Was this something you did prior to making Mérida home?

Well, I have always served people in some form or another. When I was young I became a firefighter, then a EMT basic life support, then a paramedic. My ex partner and I would go to the pueblos here in the Yucatán eight to 10 years ago and give free chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy to injured people who couldn’t come into Mérida. In these pueblos many don’t even speak Spanish.

How do you balance your personal life and your volunteer work?

I will say that with three children, a thriving business and six dogs I wouldn’t be able to accomplish all that I do, but with the support of my fiancé John Carney and the support of my three kids I am blessed with lots of time. They make it possible for me to do this.

I see you recently started a Facebook group Yucatan Giving. How does Facebook factor into the success of meeting the needs of the community?

Facebook has helped me spread the word. It isn’t reaching as far as I would like but I am confident that if Facebook continues to be a main portal in social media, the group and the needs met will grow.
The whole idea of putting out a need and having people answer that need seems perfectly simple.

Is there any chance the group will develop beyond Facebook? 

I am hoping and investing time into growing the group beyond Facebook a little. Each time I sit down to start I think rather than spending time doing it I would rather be oiling wheelchairs or giving hugs to the 280 children at Caimede [a state-run shelter for children].

We saw that you recently managed to raise enough funds for an electric hospital bed for a gentleman in dire need. You opted to “loan” the bed until it is no longer needed. That’s a great idea. Any plans for expanding on that?

Lots of plans to expand on that. I am hoping to open a corporation that will have a bodega full of helpful items and a transparent bank account where all proceeds and items go to directly enrich someones quality of life.

Have you ever had to turn down a request for help?

I haven’t and won’t, haha. Expanding on that, all my request fulfilled are from the people directly. Not the administration of the location. I have fulfilled and am working directly with the administrators and caretakers but truly i am working for the people.

When you’re not out there making a difference, what do you do for fun?  We’re hoping it involves at least an adult beverage or two.

That’s easy: Time with my family and polo.

What is one thing you’ve always wanted to try, but haven’t yet?

Skydiving. hahah Terrified, yet would love to do it.

Visit Yucatan Giving to help others in your community.

Originally from New York’s Hudson Valley, Melissa Adler lives in Mérida’s Centro Histórico.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

More articles

Yucatán highlights the value of corn with three fairs in September

Three fairs in Yucatán will honor the labor of local communities growing and preserving creole corn.

Casa Vagantes is a rescued wonder found behind Paseo Montejo

Casa Vagantes comprises a traditional abode with a surface of 70 square meters / 754 square feet and has been fully revamped with modern travelers in mind.

Jazz festival to make its comeback in Playa del Carmen this November

The festival will be of a hybrid nature, with some of the events being held online to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, city authorities announced.

Mérida prepares to host Mexico’s most important tourism trade show

The event known as the Tianguis Turístico Mexico will bring together representatives from the country’s 32 states, as well as buyers from 70 countries.

The great Kukulkán prepares for his descent, but no one will be there to see him

As was the case during the last spring equinox, Chichén Itzá closed for three days as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19.

Yucatán kicks-off rabies vaccination campaign for cats and dogs

This week marks the beginning of Yucatán's rabies vaccination program for cats and dogs

House permits for foreigners — How to buy a house in México

Any foreigner can obtain direct ownership of a property in the interior of the country, they just need a permit from the Foreigner Affair's Office. However, under Mexican law, foreigners cannot directly own property within the restricted zone.

Bars, cantinas, and sports centers to re-open in Yucatán

Mérida’s bars and cantinas will be allowed to operate once again, but only at 50% capacity. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der...

Great news for music enthusiasts: Santa Lucia Serenades To Return In October

We think that the serenades are learning the necessary measurements very quickly to be able to open this show,” says Mérida's director of Culture.

The small but beautiful ancient city of Chicanná

Chicanná gets its name from its most famous building, the House of the Serpent Mouth.